THE EPICENTER

Ground Zero.
Every turbulent disruption
and calming deception
originated here. My founding.
Our founding. Where life began
as far as can be discerned.
Images of a distraught new mother
home from the hospital
without the first born that
never made it past seven hours
of a life denied. Her husband,
consoling as best he could,
while drowning his own sorrow
with a bottle of Iroquios Beer
and Seagrams. Boiler makers
for the steel maker; his diversion.

A year later to be sharing the news
of the birth of their daughter,
and subsequently, five others there after,
seated at the same table. Life and death.
Mourning comes after long nights waiting,
often over cups of stale coffee. Her mother,
young at fifty-four, as my second birthday
had come and gone; not long after.
His father. In a foreboding fall from
an extension ladder. Severe trauma;
death came mercifully. News came home.
A kitchen command center; headquarters.
Birthday candles and butter creme frostings,
three and five and twelve and sweet sixteen,
all celebrated in the womb of a home,
sweet home. The serenity always a calm
before the next familial storm.

Rebellion in teen age years, the fears
of a world at war, and battles on the home front:
alcoholism and depression, aging in an atmosphere
of youthful discord. Peace signs and the passings
of a Great and Passionate God (it was in the papers);
a president, a civil rights leader, and a presidential sibling,
coming as bad new through the white enameled door.
Another fall from grace from an extended ladder,
her Father; my mentor, Polish dialect and all.
Lingering at another door for long enough
to be considered suffering. The devastation
it brought to my psyche; my confidence gone
in passing. Losing myself in solitude and silence.
A voice smoldering in the ashes of self doubt
and a debilitating shyness. Always accepting,
This corner of my adobe. Ground Zero.
Served with every turbulent disruption
and calming deception which originated
here. My founding. Our founding.
Where my life flourished.

Walt

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